The big annual RPG awards, the ENnies, have narrowed down to their final list of nominees. Fan voting begins on June 24th, when you get to vote and decide whose cuisine reigns supreme! Here, pretend you’re watching FOX News, and I’ll tell you what to think to prepare you for the occassion.
Analysis: You can’t beat the Paizo Adventure Paths, they are all brilliant. Well, Second Darkness stumbled, but Howl of the Carrion King is back to the superb form of Rise of the Runelords and Curse of the Crimson Throne. No one makes adventures like this any more, if they ever did. Big win!
Best Aid or Accessory
Analysis: Wolfgang Baur’s Kobold Quarterly is the real successor to Dragon Magazine. Great content. Plenty of interesting free stuff (interviews, etc.) on their Web site as well.
Best Art, Cover
Analysis: Hmmm. Well, Larry Elmore doesn’t have any competition this year. I’ll go with the nice 3:16 pic, it has the least vague blurriness (apparently a hot effect). It’s nice to see the occassional indie in with the d20/Storyteller crowd competing on what’s supposed to be the big boys’ advantage (art and production).
Best Art, Interior
Analysis: Have to give this to CthulhuTech. I like Hellas OK – bold illustrations, but some of them have a hint of “fan art.” M&M art has gone somewhat downhill. I have Dark Heresy and there’s too much rough B&W art, though there are some really nice pieces.
Analysis: Pathfinder again! Though I haven’t seen the Scum and Villainy maps and the Star Wars production values are usually quite good. The oOne’s are a little too non-pro and the DCC53 ones are a little to plastic-computer-gen looking for me.
Best Electronic Book
Analysis: Nicolas Logue FTW! If only it wasn’t using that annoying patronage model… Just let me buy the damn thing normally already!
Best Free Product
Analysis: Do quickstarts really count? Answer: no. The OD&D retro-clone Swords and Wizardry takes it by a mile, as it’s a huge labor of love, but I like Trial and Terror for a cute lil’ free game too.
Analysis: I have to preface this by saying I haven’t seen Starblazer, but given that I give this category to Dark Heresy, which I was rereading on the can this weekend (a high honor). 4e sucks, and I found CthulhuTech and Song of Ice and Fire tiresome.
Best Miniature Product
Analysis: Are you kidding? E-Z Terrain is great stuff! My group are suckers for paper minis and such, and this kind of natural terrain was the one thing we really lacked. Although honorable mention to the Waterfront Tavern, that gets a lot of use.
Analysis: The Mutants and Masterminds villains are always wonderful. We had a rough spot with a couple aspects of M&M but the villains were always super solid. So it wins, but the three horrorey ones are fun too.
Analysis: Never heard of any of them, and I don’t listen to podcasts, they waste my time. What, you’re too lazy to write now? I read very fast so I can read 10x the content in the time I listen to some nasal whining. No winner! Although I might have to check out the IPR one, The Voice of the Revolution.
Best Production Values
Analysis: Anima is beautiful, there is no denying it. Clear winner.
Analysis: I refuse to accept “Regalia” as a category. Mostly art books, with a Gygax novel thrown in? Just weird.
Analysis: Hmmm. My reaction is nearly identical to the Best Game section – haven’t read Starblazer but Dark Heresy is tough to beat. 4e is a travesty and Hunter and SIFRP are pretty derivative really… Well, so is Dark Heresy, but I like it a little better. No super brilliance here this year I have to admit.
Analysis: On the other hand, it is a great year for settings! Some very strong contenders, and it’s a shame that they are coming out when Pathfinder is, because the world of Golarion is awesome. It’s like seeing the birth of Greyhawk all over again.
Analysis: I have a soft spot for Star Wars, the line is still going strong, and my daughter and I really like the Clone Wars, we watch it together! So I have to put one in for our Corporate Overlords with a vote for Clone Wars.
Analysis: Shout out to my fellow RPG Blogger at Mad Brew Labs! Always has good content and analysis.
Analysis: Don’t Lose Your Mind, the supplement for Don’t Rest Your Head, gets it. A brilliant indie game with a very evocative atmosphere.
Product of the Year
- Dark Heresy: Disciples of the Dark Gods, Fantasy Flight Games
- Don’t Lose Your Mind, Evil Hat Productions
- Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition Players Handbook, Wizards of the Coast
- Hunter: The Vigil, White Wolf
- Mouse Guard, Kunoichi/Archaia (My Pick)
- Scion: Ragnarok, White Wolf
- A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying, Green Ronin
- Starblazer Adventures, Cubicle 7 Entertainment, Ltd
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Wizards of the Coast
- Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies, Atomic Sock Monkey / Evil Hat
Analysis: Who gets the big win? I don’t have a super strong feeling here. All around, I’d have to say Mouse Guard. I don’t think it’s the best at any of the subcategories (art/prod/writing/rules) but as a package I think it comes in as the strongest in the field!
Remember to vote starting July 24! And check out all the nominees – one of the things I love about the awards is that they bring quality games to my attention that I may not have heard of.
Thanks for the shout out!
I most definitely agree with your analysis about the best free products… it should be free & complete… scrap quickstarts.
Rob Lang of the Free RPG Blog is looking to roll on a campaign against the quick-start entries. People should check out his latest post about this, and get on board if they have any feelings about quick-start rules packages NOT counting as a “Free RPG”.
Hey, thanks for the tip of the hat for the 3:16 cover. Much appreciated!
Paul’s art is rad, and what’s more amazing (to me) is that it’s actually a capture of a 3-D model that he’s constructed — from scratch — of a planet with dropships, that he’s positioned, skinned with textures, lit and then rendered.
The high-res cover is here:
PS with you on the free stuff, though I have a soft spot from Trial & Terror: SVU. It’s a hoot.
Thanks for the shout for KQ and Blood of the Gorgon!
Because of the nomination, BotG will be available for regular purchase during the voting season — and better yet, the Fall Open Design project will be entirely public, no patronage required.
Hey man any word when/how this will happen?
Wolfie… I’d love to buy BotG, but still haven’t heard how to – here, on the KQ forums, or in personal email, I’ve inquired all three ways… If it’s off for some reason that’s fine but please let us know!
Oh yay! I just heard of Blood after the patronage period was over, and went to the page and saw “Oh, give to the new 4e project and maybe you can buy it…” Bleah! But I’ll totally go buy it now that I can! Good man!
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To clarify, I’m sure the games the quickstarts are based on are labors of love – but the quickstarts themselves aren’t; they’re an editing job. And thus it’s totally unfair for “real” free full games to compete against them.
I am here to defend the genre of podcasting.
Q: Why are podcasts better than Writing?
A: They are not. What they are is different.
So first off podcasts fill niche that may not apply to you: People who do boring things (Gym/office work/dog walking/commuting to work). I am grateful to listen to gaming podcasts while I am out walking my dogs.
Second, learning styles. I am not going to bore you with the details, but some people retain audio information better (it is actually the majority group in fact).
Third, the complexity of production serves as a quality filter. Podcasts tend to be of a higher average quality than blogs and there are fewer of them so it is easier to check them all out. Imagine checking out every gaming blog.
Fourth, podcasts serve as a one way locked channel of communication. And the voices help with nuance. That means they are better at explaining complex issues.
Fifth, podcasts can be fun or funny.
Yeah, but all of this seems to be more a “can be” than an “are.” Some podcasts have less production values than some blogs – someone just babbles off the top of their head, without putting the organization into it that actually writing would require. Of course, some bloggers do the same.
Sure, some put more work into it… And definitely, if you have periods of audio only input time they’re fine. But I personally have yet to get much out of a podcast that couldn’t have been condensed into a bullet point. Perhaps I just haven’t found the right one.
Hey, the ENnies voting booth is now open. Go vote how you done been told!
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